First Amendment concert

As a journalist I’m glad my profession is protected by the First Amendment — the freedom of speech, press, religion, assembly and petition.
After talking with Gene Policinski, senior vice president and executive director of the First Amendment Center, I realize more now than ever that those five freedoms rely heavily on one another.
I sat down with Policinski Thursday afternoon and picked his brain a bit about the free concert at Jamestown College Friday at 7:30 p.m. and what it means.
(Side note: As part of his job, Policinski travels the country with professional musicians and talks about music, politics and social change, in between songs at a concert. Best Job Ever!)
But the print edition only has so much room… Be sure to check it out though.
For example as Policinski told me, where would America be if people couldn’t assemble, if people weren’t free to speak, or if there wasn’t the press there to report on it freely?
Those same themes run deep into music that has changed the world, or hasn’t yet.
“Although we’ve been at war now for more than a decade, we don’t really have that anti-war or pro-troop anthem that we saw during the ’60s,” he said. “It’s just the money isn’t there anymore to support a fringe artist, it sort of now has to all be closer to the center and not be controversial.”
CSNY’s “Ohio” came as a direct result of the Kent State University killings, and Joni Mitchell’s “Big Yellow Taxi,” came after she saw what was happening to the environment.
“They’re really almost journalists in some ways if you think about musicians reacting to the news, sometimes to write a song,” Policinski said.
I was stoked to hear that, in some tiny way I am connected to musicians who impacted society, even if it is only by the First Amendment, which also connects every American to them.
In the same way the Occupy Wall Street Movement, is almost too new that it doesn’t have a soundtrack yet, which is why you can see Pete Seeger, all 90 plus years of him, marching in New York, Policinski explained.
I’ve nearly forgotten about how music can affect society, it’s been more than four years since that class in college and it feels good to realize it again.
This family-friendly show is at 7:30 p.m. Friday at Jamestown College. Get there early if you want to get in.

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